LeadCrest Capital Partners, a fund management business set up by former Colony Capital director Georges Asmar, has been launched to target sale-leaseback deals across Europe.

LeadCrest said it will focus on transactions between €10m to €50m in Western and Northern Europe. The company will invest in office, industrial, retail and special-purpose properties with leases of more than ten years.

LeadCrest will be led by founder Asmar as president and managing. Asmar was previously managing director and global head of net lease investments at global real estate firm Colony.

LeadCrest’s senior leadership team will also include Pascal Leclerc, who has been appointed as LeadCrest’s COO and managing director. 

Leclerc brings over 25 years of experience in fund management, structuring and administration, including four years as MD at Colony Capital Luxembourg, the company said.

LeadCrest’s real estate advisory panel will include Stuart Koenig, who served as senior partner and COO at Ares’ real estate division, and Reggie Winssinger, the founder and chairman of National Portfolio.

Olivier Chatain, of international business school HEC Paris, will also serve on LeadCrest’s advisory board, advising on corporate strategy.

Asmar said sale-leaseback as an investment strategy is largely untapped in Europe outside of the UK.

In the US it is an established and growing asset class, with over $50bn of transactions taking place each year and as many as 42 institutional funds focusing purely on sale-leaseback, he said.

“LeadCrest is the first fund manager to specialise in European sale-leaseback on a dedicated basis and we intend to combine our US skillsets with a deep understanding and experience of country-specific dynamics, particularly in continental Europe.

“Europe is home to a large number of organisations who are sitting on high-quality real estate assets, but who also need to unlock capital to support their core business. These assets constitute attractive and reliable investments at this point in the economic cycle,” Asmar said.